Troutman

Restaurant Review: Pelligrino’s in Troutman, NC

I visited Pelligrino’s last night with a friend and was pleasantly surprised that such a yummy place existed in the small and charming town of Troutman!  I’ve had it on my list to try for a while now, and finally got my chance.  So glad we did!  It sits in a small strip mall, but is surprisingly deep with plenty of seating!  And even on a wet Tuesday evening they were doing a brisk business.

We were seated without waiting at a table of our choice.  There was a tiny delay in our server coming over, but he did check in with us, so it was not a problem.  The server helped guide us on our entrees and gave us honest feedback on dishes.  I appreciated that!

My friend ordered Capellini Puttanesca which had tomatoes, olives, anchovies, garlic and olive oil.  It was really delicious, very tangy and so filling.  She had to take half home so we could save room for birthday cake!

I had the Pollo di Massimo which was a chicken breast pounded thin and lightly fried, topped with fresh tomatoes, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and their fresh tomato sauce.  It was served with a side of penne pasta in the same tomato sauce.  The chicken was well cooked and flavorful.  I loved the cheesy topping, and the flavor of the prosciutto together with the sauce.  The sauce,  however, did lack flavor on its own on the pasta.  The pasta could have stood some salt in the water it was cooked in, too.

The surprise delight of the night was the triple chocolate cake!  It is made for them by Queen City Bakery and it was so darn good!  It was very moist and pretty to look at!  Be warned, though..it is also quite rich!  We could have used some whip cream or ice cream to cut the sweetness.

We had a great night, way too much food with kind servers.  I will be back!

Uncategorized · Wilmington

Restaurant Review: Bridge Tender in Wilmington, NC

While in Wilmington last week, we asked the locals in our class where to eat.  Many of them said Bridge Tender…but they were cagey about the food, instead remarking on the beautiful view.  So, we canceled our reservations at a seafood place I’d made earlier in the week and headed over to Bridge Tender.

Here’s the deal…we get there at 7pm and it is raining and pitch black.  So, no view for us.  So, I can’t factor that into this review, which only leaves food and service.  Service was great.  Our server was very attentive and kind, guiding us on our selections, never letting us get thirsty and getting us whatever was needed.

Our food was just ok we agreed. Maybe it was in comparison to the wonderful meals we’d had earlier in the week, but this restaurant was our least favorite of the four we tried.

When we entered the building, we were hit with this smell that is very unpleasant.  Almost like septic issue.  Very unappetizing.  Perhaps it is because the building is old, or the proximity to the water?  Whatever it is, Febreeze that mug.

Now, the tables and ambiance were both very nice.  We were seated by a wide window, so on a better night we might have enjoyed a starlit view.

We girls usually order and share each other’s food so we all get to taste everything.  Aren’t those the best friends?  Food friends?

We got two appetizers: The Seafood Sampler and CRAB DIP.  The seafood sampler had oysters Rockefeller, a crab cake, spring rolls and coconut shrimp. The sauces tasted like they came out of a jar. The Oysters Rockefeller was served in a dish, not on the shells, so I was questioning if they were even fresh shucked oysters.  Not pleasant.  The crab cake was not great, very heavy on filling and lighter on crab. The spring rolls were inedible, with the noodles inside providing a weird texture.  The coconut shrimp were the best things, and they were really not that great either.  I was thoroughly disappointed in that dish and would never get that again.

The crab dip we all agreed was were it’s at.  That was truly delicious and creamy and the toast points they served it with were so good, light and made the perfect bite.  Highly recommend that!  It was the best thing we had all night.

For the salad course we chose the Lumina Greens, which has dried cranberries, roasted almonds, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, pecorino cheese and dressed with a white balsamic vinaigrette.  It was fresh and pleasant, but light on the toppings.  I just got big mouthfuls of lettuce each time. It was fine.

We had two entrees: Grilled Salmon and Tenderloin Medallions.  Both were great, but the tenderloin was a tad overcooked.  It was served with fried potatoes and asparagus.  All very good.  Nothing incredible.

Let me tell you what was incredible: Dessert. The Fudge Brownie Napoleon was just out of this world good.  The brownie was warm and gooey, the ice cream was cold and melty, it was just a perfect dish.  Sweet warm caramel in between two brownies and sprinkled with walnuts.  Worth every calorie.  Three of us shared and we still couldn’t finish the darn thing.  GET THIS!

This restaurant’s main draw is the view.  Know this going in and order smart, realizing that not everything on the menu is worth the price tag.  If you can manage your expectations, you can enjoy yourself here.

Uncategorized

Restaurant Review: Poe’s Tavern in Wrightsville Beach, NC

I love a themed restaurant.  And I love horror.  So, Poe’s Tavern has been on my bucket list for a good long while.  I was so fan-girling on our visit!

In our class several other REALTORS told us which restaurants around town to try, and Poe’s came up for their hamburgers.  Little did I realize, that was nearly all they had, but it was ok because they were really delicious and huge!


The interior is pretty darn cool.  There is a long communal table in the middle of the restaurant with high stools and a scattering of booths and tables around the other dining areas.  What struck me were the paintings of Poe on the wall and the gothic looking light fixtures hanging over those communal tables.  Even the bathroom was wallpapered with pages out of Poe’s books while an eerie voice read excerpts from his book while you did your business.

We ordered cocktails, I had the Poe’s Punch which was fruity and refreshing!  Not too strong.

For dinner I had the Black Cat burger with Cheddar cheese instead of the pimento cheese.  The burger was served well done, per my instructions, and still remained juicy.  The meat was perfectly seasoned all the way through, not just on the top of the burger.  It was loaded with toppings: bacon, drunken chili, cheese, lettuce, tomato..I could barely fit it in my mouth!  It was so good!

If you like a themed restaurant that does a great burger, this place is for you.

Uncategorized

Recipe: HEARTY BEEF STEW

Winter is a great time to get out your Dutch ovens and make stew!  This one is a favorite, but the broth is thinner than I’m used to.  I’m sure it’d be easy to thicken with a bit of a cornstarch slurry if you desire!

HEARTY BEEF STEW

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs beef stew meat
4 ounces tomato paste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 medium carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, cut into chunks

1/4 cup frozen peas
5 cups low sodium beef broth
salt and pepper (to season)

DIRECTIONS
1. First, prepare your meat by cutting it into chunks and making sure that it’s dry so it
browns well (just use a paper towel). Season it well with salt and pepper. Heat the
butter and olive oil in a large pot, then add in the meat and cook it until it has browned
on all sides. Remove it from the pot and set it aside (you may need to cook the meat in
two batches so it browns well and the pot isn’t too crowded).
2. Cook the diced onion and minced garlic in the same pot, just until the onion softens,
then add in the tomato paste and stir it in well (I used a whisk for this part), then let
cook for a minute or two. Still stirring, add in 4 cups of the beef broth (reserve the
remaining cup for later, in case you need to thin out the stew), then add in sugar and a
dash or two of Worcestershire sauce. Stir well and return the beef and all its juices back
into the pot, then cover and reduce the heat to low and just let the stew simmer for
about an hour and a half, stirring it occasionally.
3. In the meantime, prepare your vegetables. Peel and dice your carrots and potatoes (you can omit the potatoes and instead serve the stew with mashed potatoes). After the stew has been cooking for about an hour and a half, add in the carrots, potatoes and frozen peas, and let the stew cook for another half our, or until the meat and the vegetables are soft. If the stew is getting too thick, add some more beef broth at this point too, and check the seasoning. Serve hot with some crusty white bread!

 

Huntersville

Restaurant Review: Verde Mexican and Nuevo Latin Fusion

Need a vacation but are stuck here in Lake Norman? You need to check out Verde in Huntersville.  This great restaurant will transport you to Cuba, Argentina, Mexico…without leaving this beautiful area.

The front is deceptively small, once you get inside the restaurant goes back pretty far and seats plenty.  They have a great little bar area with high top tables, and booths and tables in the restaurant area.  There is room enough for a large party of about 10.  Service is great, our waitress was so kind and attentive.

We started with cocktails and drinks.  I had the peach margarita which was on special.  It was sweet yet strong!  Very good!


Next we ordered the guacamole which comes with chips and salsa.  They also refilled our chips when we ran out for no charge 🙂  The guacamole was very fresh, chock full of tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro.  The salsa had a slight hint of chipotle to it, which isn’t my favorite flavor, but it wasn’t overpowering.  I liked it!

For my entree, I chose the paella with seafood.  It was as flavorful as everyone before has stated, but maybe a little heavy on the peas!  I could taste the smoky paprika, and most of the seafood was very fresh, but I did have one calamari ring that was a bit fishy, so I took the rest off.  The shrimp were delicious.

Ty had the Tacos Verde which were small but tasty.  He ordered a side of rice to accompany.  The tacos had tasty marinated steak and were topped with chipotle rouille, avocado salsa, Monterrey jack and cotija cheeses.  Yum!

We enjoyed our time there and will likely be back!

Mooresville

Restaurant Review: El Veracruz in Mooresville, NC

Photo Credit: Stephanie S on Yelp

The last time I visited this location was when it was the Prickly Pear years ago.  We loved it then, although the stairs can present a challenge to some.  There is handicapped parking in the back and a ramp for those needing access.  This building was once a church and is kind of off the beaten path right past downtown Mooresville, but that just adds to its charm.

The service was great on our visit, our food was brought very quickly and our waitress was very attentive and kind.  The chips were fresh and warm and the salsa was very flavorful and just spicy enough.  Also very fresh.  We ordered a cheese dip as an appetizer and it was thick and creamy, very good!

Our dinners were also delicious.  I got a platter with a taco, chile poblano and a tostada.  All was delicious, but the taco was my favorite.  The meat was spiced well and it surprisingly held together while I was eating it.

My kids got the Pollo con Crema and that was super good.  The meat was seared just perfectly to give you the crispy brown bits but the chicken itself was very tender.  The rice was also flavorful and fluffy.

We truly enjoyed our experience and can’t wait to return.

Columbia SC

Restaurant Review: Big Bulls Bang’n BBQ &Southern Comfort Food in Columbia, SC

While on the way to a girls weekend in Savannah, we stopped in Columbia SC for lunch and gas.  We pulled up yelp and using the tool to tell us what was nearby, we chose this place for lunch.  Now, without this app on my phone I would have never known about this out of the way spot and probably prejudged it because of its humble appearance.  That would have been a huge mistake.  This, folks, is the real deal.  And I’ve been telling everyone I know.

I got the vibe from the owners that they knew their food was good and they weren’t putting up with any crap.  Order, sit down and be patient.  Our food came out in record time, but there are signs alluding to the fact that this food is home cooked and that takes time.  It is worth it, no matter how long it takes them.  This is some of the best home cooking I’ve ever had in a restaurant.  And if anyone knows restaurants…

There were so many delicious choices on the menu I just couldn’t pick.  I took a cue from food celebs and asked one of the diners. And it was the best choice, even though it was WAY too much food.

I got the pork chop plate, which came with TWO pork chops, two sides and bread.  They said I could have one of each style of pork chop, so I chose one smothered in gravy over rice and one fried.  I love gravy and rice, and that pork chop that was simmered in it was fall apart tender and was so delicious with the fluffy white rice. The gravy had whole slices of green pepper and onions, adding another layer of flavor.  The fried pork chop was simpler, but I think it was my favorite.  So often when people fry things, they forget to season when it comes out of the fryer so the food is bland.  You will NOT experience this here.  Their food is a flavor bomb.  For my sides I chose macaroni and cheese and lima beans.  The macaroni and cheese reminded me of my great grandmother’s, and I almost teared up.  My childhood came flooding back over me with just one taste!  The lima beans were seasoned with smoked ham chunks and seriously could have made me full with just a bowl of these and this amazing cornbread they serve.  It was so dense and sweet, almost like cake.


Jennifer chose the beef brisket and it was another amazing choice.  The beef was smoked perfectly and so tender, you could cut it with a plastic fork. The sides that she chose were collard greens and cornbread stuffing.  The collards were some of the best I’ve ever had, again seasoned perfectly and cooked well.  The cornbread stuffing was different than I’d had before, a little sweeter and a smoky flair, but delicious nonetheless.

This place is a real diamond in the rough and deserves a ton of foot traffic.  It is off the beaten path, and there is some construction on that road (at the time of our visit) but persevere!  You may just have one of the best home cooked meals of your life!

Find them online here: